The Cardinal (2-5, 1-4 Pac-12) dropped a house sport to the No. 25 UCLA Bruins (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) by a rating of 42-7 — on the heels of a miraculous comeback in opposition to Colorado final week.
The outcome was by no means in query. The Bruins’ offense had a methodical method that allowed them to maneuver the ball down the sphere with ease in opposition to Stanford’s protection. On the opposite aspect of the ball, Stanford was unable to transform in third and 4th down conditions in opposition to the UCLA protection, which is ranked No. 1 within the Pac-12.
Whereas Stanford solely scored seven factors within the sport, the offense did look noticeably improved from earlier within the season. The Cardinal had a number of alternatives to attain early within the sport, with the offense deep inside UCLA territory. Nevertheless, inopportune penalties stalled these drives and the Cardinal got here out the opposite aspect empty-handed as a rule.
Battle in opposition to the scramble
Stanford’s struggles in opposition to scrambling quarterbacks have been obvious all year long, however they have been magnified to a big extent on Saturday. The Cardinal allowed UCLA quarterback Ethan Garbers to make key scrambles on third all the way down to hold drives alive early within the first half. It’s definitely essential to present Garbers credit score for a great really feel of the pocket and an understanding of the place the strain was coming from on Stanford’s protection.
Nevertheless, there have been a number of occasions when the Cardinal defensive position weren’t staying of their assigned gaps, permitting Garbers a free gap to take off. At different occasions Garbers was capable of get the sting in opposition to Stanford’s linebackers, which exhibited the Cardinal’s lack of athleticism and dynamic play-making on the second-levels of the protection.
The Bruins tried to take advantage of this in different methods, particularly by throwing to receiver and tight ends within the flat, a weak point of the duvet three matchup zone, significantly with linebackers that lack the requisite athleticism.
Defensive coordinator Bobby April III dialed up some blitzes that put the Stanford linebackers in powerful quandaries. In hindsight, April in all probability needs he had assigned a QB spy on Garbers. On the identical time, an enormous deficiency in personnel is a big a part of the explanation Stanford has continued to wrestle in opposition to scrambling quarterbacks this yr.
Elic Ayomanor is a No. 1 receiver
Sophomore vast receiver Elic Ayomanor was faculty soccer’s darling final week after his sport in opposition to Colorado. The 6’2″ receiver from Canada had a Stanford report 13 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns within the Cardinal’s 29-point comeback in opposition to the Buffaloes. Whereas Ayomanor’s encore in opposition to UCLA couldn’t surpass his popping out occasion, he nonetheless delivered a robust efficiency. Ayomanor tallied eight receptions for 90 yards, as soon as once more main the Cardinal in receiving yardage.
Admittedly, a lot of that yardage was already after UCLA already accrued a giant lead. He additionally had a drive-killing penalty earlier within the sport, when the Cardinal have been down by two scores, that put the offense out of discipline aim vary. However Ayomanor would have had extra alternatives to tally yards if the offensive line had held up only a couple seconds extra.
The underside line is that, for a workforce that was questioning if it had a participant on the surface that would constantly win one-on-one battles, Ayomanor has definitely proved he might try this in opposition to Pac-12 competitors back-to-back weeks.
Too many penalties
The Cardinal are among the many most penalized groups within the nation this season, and that was definitely evident on Saturday. In opposition to UCLA, Stanford was penalized 10 occasions for 113 yards. For a workforce that’s means much less proficient than the remainder of their Pac-12 foes, a soccer discipline’s value of penalty yardage is digging the workforce right into a even larger gap.
A number of penalties, together with the offensive cross interference in opposition to Ayomanor and the ineligible receiver penalty in opposition to sophomore tight finish Sam Roush successfully ended Stanford’s possibilities to compete within the sport.
As Troy Taylor stated after the sport, “Our margin for victory is skinny.”
For Stanford to drag out any extra video games this season, it must play spotlessly.
The Cardinal will tackle the No. 5 Washington Huskies at Stanford Stadium. The Huskies, led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and receivers Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan need to deliver Washington again to the school soccer playoff for the primary time since 2016. Washington’s high-powered offense will definitely be a problem for Stanford’s protection, specifically within the secondary. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. subsequent week.